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IDS17 announces architect David Adjaye as International Guest of Honour


Photo credit: Ed Reeve

Photo credit: Ed Reeve

For the 19th consecutive year, the Interior Design Show (IDS17), presented by National Bank, will welcome industry masterminds from around the globe to Toronto during the city’s notable Design Week. The four-day long event will transform the Metro Toronto Convention Centre into an oasis of design from January 19 to 22, as designers gather to forecast 2017’s top trends. Exhibitors showcase design innovations and mesmerizing feature installations that propel creativity to the forefront of conversation.

Continuing the show’s tradition of celebrating industry change makers, IDS17 has announced architect David Adjaye, principal of Adjaye Associates, as the 2017 International Guest of Honour. The recipient of the OBE (Queen’s honour for outstanding service), Wall Street Journal Innovator Award, MIT’s McDermott Award for Excellence in the Arts and Panerai London Design Medal, Adjaye will be sharing insights from his design process on Professional Trade Day, presented by Miele, on Friday January 20, 2017. 

Adjaye’s CV boasts multiple prestigious commissions, including the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, and the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo. He frequently lends his exemplary craft of eclectic material, light and colour palettes to small scale projects ranging from private residences to civic buildings. His firm’s most recent work, The National Museum of African American History and Culture on Washington’s National Mall, is regarded as one of the most radical monuments of our time. The 400,000 square foot building is as notable for its architectural impact as it is for its cultural significance – a true demonstration of Adjaye’s ability to dissolve barriers and accommodate difference through design.

Adjaye’s oeuvre extends into both artistic collaborations and solo installations, including a map of art practices in Africa, Past and Present, which was displayed at the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, David Adjaye: Output at Tokyo’s Gallery MA and The Upper Room, which is now a permanent collection at the Tate Britain. In addition, a three-year collaboration with Knoll International and notable partnerships with GAIA&GINO and Moroso have positioned Adjaye as a leader in interior design. Product designs like the Knoll Prism and the Star Collection demonstrate how he translates his architectural vision for the human scale.

Currently Harvard University’s John C. Portman Design Critic in Architecture, Adjaye has held celebrated professorships at Yale, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania, and has also taught at the Royal College of Art and Architectural Association School in London. A role model for future architecture generations, Adjaye is a firm believer in research as a method for generating a framework for experimentation, reflection and theory. The results from his 10-year study of the capital African cities were presented as the exhibition Urban Africa, as well as, the five-volume book Adjaye Africa Architecture.

The core principal behind Adjaye’s work lays in the belief that architecture creates a transformational experience. Born in Tanzania to Ghanian parents, he frequently draws inspiration from global influences to build awareness of human-scaled complexities. Conceptually, sociologically or materially, Adjaye is driven to improve daily life through the understanding of a project’s locale and identity. The architect credits his knowledge of science, engineering and environment to his ability to interpret civic experience and create work absent of monolithic statements and utility.

Adjaye set up his first office in 1994, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision. He reformed his studio as Adjaye Associates in 2000, which now has offices in London, New York and Accra and works throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.


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